Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I didn't know your name, but thank you.

I'm watching President Obama's speech at the Human Right Campaign, and well, am moved to tears. For starters, it's amazing to have a president again who can speak fluently, eloquently, and with purpose. It's amazing to finally have been able to vote, and have my opinion be known. It's even more amazing to finally have someone who cares about righting the wrongs done to so many people for so many years. It's incredible to hear someone speak of change, and actually believe in it.
This issue of equality for the LGBT community has been near and dear to my heart for many years. I grew up attending services on Sundays in a small church, with a lesbian couple. They were (and still are, thankfully) two of the most amazing people I have ever known. Their incredible kindness, caring, and strength have affected many lives for the positive. They're both nurses, and now getting on in years. But they still keep their home a warm and loving environment for children in need. For children who's parents can't care for them because of medical need or developmental need, these two women have stepped up. I have seen many children come, age, and go, departing this world after only a short time because they were born so sick. I love these two women so much, but am greatly angered that they do not have the same rights as I do. They are denied basic rights that I have access to, should I marry. I can marry. They cannot. I want this to change.
I've known those two women my whole life, but there's another who I'd love to recognize for her outstanding courage and strength to not deny who she was. When I was a freshman in high school, there was an eclectic, unique woman who was interning with my geometry professor. This girl wore colorful clothes, baggy shorts, short hair, many piercings, and buzzed hair. She didn't shave her legs. She was the complete opposite of the standard high school student. She refused to lie to the world about her identity, and I loved her for that. I was confused by her, until I heard a poem she wrote performed at our Reverie club afterschool. She wrote and performed a poem about the death of her razor. She was so strong, so powerful, so unabashedly gay, that I wanted to hug her and kiss her.
I know what it's like to be gay in high school. Maybe not completely, because I myself am not gay, but I've been there when a friend was too afraid to get his things from the locker room, because the other guys couldn't handle his homosexuality. I've been there when friends have been humiliated, both publicly and privately. I've tried my hardest to support them and defend them, to encourage and protect them, from the harsh cruel world high school can be. Not all LGBT individuals survive high school. It's an absolute abomination and travesty that we can go about our lives not acknowledging this, and doing something about this.
I've written my new representatives, I've celebrated Day of Silence (April 16th!), I've supported my friends and strangers. But it's not enough. Nothing I do will be enough until equality is reached. Please, if you have felt love, think what it would be like to be told your love is wrong. Your life is wrong. That you, your identity, is wrong. If you have children, or want children, think how it'd feel to be told you're not fit, that you can't HAVE them. Think how much that would hurt. And remember that pain, because that's what many LGBT individuals experience daily. So, please, don't sit idle waiting for change to find you and your community. Help change come. Contact your representatives, email the president, march peacefully, and support and love your neighbor. Love is human instinct. How dare people try to take that from others.

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